Talk:The Principles of Psychology

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Tough reading[edit]

I found this really very hard to read. The combination of jargonesque language (innatism?) and the writing style itself are IMHO too dense for such a context as this. Would it be possible to expand and simplify please? Also, how does James' book measure up to Freud? It seems to me that they are in different classes, like comparing Planck with Einstein (or Mrs Einstein if you prefer!
LookingGlass 19:00, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

James is much more in tune with contemporary scientific psychology than Freud. He is an excellent writer, though his style is certainly dated. Freud's notions include many that are very counter-intuitive, some of which are basically false. James explains a great deal without straining credulity.
This book covers a vast range, which makes it difficult to write a good article that provides perspective. Even doing a decent summary is difficult, given the length. DCDuring 22:05, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

Article need some major work[edit]

I recently finished reading both volumes of the The Principles of Psychology. (Yes, all 1200 pages.) I don't think this article comes anywhere close to giving a fair summary of that great masterpiece. Also, I would like to see a section that criticizes some of James' theories and presents some contrasting modern alternatives. (e.g. Freud, Jung, Erikson, Maslow, Piaget, Berne, Skinner, Chomsky, etc.) I wish I had the time do that myself. Unfortunately, I don't presently have the freedom to do that. In that case, I will personally challenge anyone who does have the time, and the know how to undertake that venture. If you have further thoughts on this, please feel free to add to reply to this posting; either here, or on my Talk page. Aletheia (talk) 18:09, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

I have read James' "Principles of Psychology" quite thoroughly through the years (I am now 63). Although there is much more to be said to allow a comprehension of the whole, those of some Christian persuasion or background can summarize the work with the normal conclusion that James comes nowhere near giving a normal account of the "psyche" through any normal conception of "psychology" according to the uses of "psyche" in the Greek translation of the New Testament, especially in the words of Christ (Matt 10:28 (Luke 12:4-5)), or for that matter, the Hebrew-related forms in the Old (e.g., nephesh, Bereshit 2:7 (7:22)). James' conception, reflected from his usage, preserves no principle of non-contradiction between his language on the "psyche" based in his "psychology" and the language of the words of Christ any better than the stream of supposititiousness from the early "psychologists" through the latest; hence, there seems as yet little leeway from diagnosing James as a basically sophistic case of psychohypocrisy. D. O. Shaw198.60.1.105 (talk) 19:19, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

Is this the best you can do ?[edit]

Having just read Richardson's great biography of Wm James I think this wiki piece on James' most notable contribution to psychology / philosophy. The same can be said of wiki main bio page for James.

Alfred North Whitehead said, "in western literature there are four great thinkers whose services to civilized throught rest largely on their achievements in philosophical assemblage; though each of them made important contributions to the structure of philosophic system. These men are Plato, Aristotle, Leibniz and William James." I am not competetent, whoever wrote these pieces needs to give them the proper treatment James merits. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:56, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

Major rewrite[edit]

This article has been substantially rewritten by my PSYC 480 History and Systems of Psychology class, Spring 2014 semester. I think they did a nice job, although there is always room for improvement. I hope it meets with approval from the editors. J.R. Council (talk) 20:00, 7 May 2014 (UTC)

Upcoming Improvements[edit]

I think that this article could be improved by adding more sections, cleaning up the existing sections, finding more sources, and providing a more balanced/well-rounded view of the topics. Briekm (talk) 22:47, 6 October 2014 (UTC)

Improvements to be made[edit]

Looking at this article I see that there are improvements that are needing to be done. Above they note that it is difficult to read, so I will try to make this article more readable. Another improvement is that there is a lot of information missing about 'The Principles of Psychology'. I think it is important to add parts of every aspect of this topic to the article so that the readers can have a better understanding. Jess.ndsu (talk) 16:38, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

To-Do List[edit]

Make the article a bit longer and go more in depth on specific topics that are important to the principles of Psychology but don't overwhelm people who don't know much about psychology or specific sections of psychology.

  • expand more on William James 4 methods for people who are just learning about principles of psychology.
  • put in more references to support more of the findings William James found.
  • Talk more on the consequences of his results and why he had consequences from his findings.

Rude23 (talk) 00:27, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

  • Re-organize/clean up the existing sections
  • Create whatever new sections we might want
  • Make the article more well-rounded

I agree that we shouldn't make the article too overwhelming since it sounds like that was a problem for the previous class. It should be comprehensive but not overwhelming. Briekm (talk) 07:17, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

As for divvying up the duties, I could help with organizing references and/or I could work on x number of sections of the article and/or I could search for some more external links to provide at the bottom of the article. I'm pretty flexible and would be glad to write, organize, clean sections up---whatever is needed. Briekm (talk) 07:22, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

  • Redo the article so that it is easier for the readers to understand
  • Go into the basics of The Principles of Psychology (Stream of Consciousness, Habit, Emotion and Will)
  • Add a section informing the readers about William James

Jess.ndsu (talk) 17:43, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

I most definitely think that we should add more references so that we have legit information for the readers. Also need to re-organize and clean up the sections of this article because it is hard to understand and there isn't enough information for us to really know what is going on in this article. Jess.ndsu (talk) 17:43, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

I agree we should separate a certain number of sections that each of us will work on. I think we should get together and decide which of us will do each task in our todo list/ outline. Jess.ndsu (talk) 17:49, 17 October 2014 (UTC)


  1. Introduction
  2. Perhaps a basic outline of what topics are included in the book
  3. More in the middle -- what else do you two think should go into the article (and do we want to keep all of the existing sections)?
  4. References
  5. See also
  6. External links

Briekm (talk) 07:17, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

Megan and I met up a couple of weeks ago to better divide out the duties, and we decided that she will expand on Principles of Psychology and more on William James, Jessica will do habit and will, and I will do stream of consciousness and emotion. Briekm (talk) 23:18, 6 November 2014 (UTC)

More Detailed Outline[edit]

Stream of Consciousness

  1. Basic description of the concept
  2. How it was discussed in the book, perhaps finding a quote


  1. Basic description of the concept
  2. How it was discussed in the book, perhaps finding a quote
  3. To make it more well-rounded, there could be some mentions of other theories of emotions and how James' differs

Briekm (talk) 23:44, 6 November 2014 (UTC)

I think that we do have to be mindful, though, of making sure that we don't make the article too overwhelming or too long. Hopefully we'll be able to strike a good balance between getting more information into the article while not making it overwhelming. Briekm (talk) 23:37, 7 November 2014 (UTC)

More Detailed Outline[edit]


  1. Description of what Habit is
  2. Brief Quotes from James himself
  3. Why James stressed how this was an important influence of habitual responses for the maintenance of society
  4. Power and Inevitability of Human Habits
  5. James' conclusion about Habit


  1. Description of what James thought Will was
  2. James's personal experience with Will
  3. Impact James had on his readers

Jess.ndsu (talk) 17:13, 7 November 2014 (UTC)

I think we should probably put our four selected topics (stream of consciousness, emotion, habit, and will) all into one section rather than putting them into four separate sections. The article might get too overwhelming if we separate them out and write too much about them. I will try to think of a good title for the header, but if anyone thinks of something that is better or catchier, please feel free to change it! Briekm (talk) 04:18, 26 November 2014 (UTC)


Here are some of the references I've collected so far:

  • Mandler, G. (1990). William James And The Construction Of Emotion. Psychological Science, 1(3), 179-180.
  • Coon, D. J. (2000). Salvaging the self in a world without soul: William James's The Principles of Psychology. History Of Psychology, 3(2), 83-103.

Briekm (talk) 07:17, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

  • Barbalet, J. M. (1999). William James' theory of emotions: Filling in the picture. Journal For The Theory Of Social Behaviour, 29(3), 251-266.

Briekm (talk) 23:22, 6 November 2014 (UTC)

  • Izard, C. E. (1990). The substrates and functions of emotion feelings: William James and current emotion theory. Personality And Social Psychology Bulletin, 16(4), 626-635.

Briekm (talk) 23:25, 6 November 2014 (UTC)

  • Fancher, R.E. & Rutherford, A. (4th ed., 2012). Pioneers of Psychology. New York, W.W. Norton.

Jess.ndsu (talk) 17:52, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

I was looking over the other articles you found and some other ones this one are on our topic and this one I see had some really good information

  • Mandler, G. (1990). William James And The Construction Of Emotion. Psychological Science, 1(3), 179-180.

Rude23 (talk) 02:54, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

  • Nelson, J. (2012). History of the Psychology of Religion, East and West: Theoretical and Practical Principles for New (and Old) Histories. Pastoral Psychology, 61(5/6), 655-670. doi:10.1007/s11089-011-0405-0

Rude23 (talk) 17:39, 6 November 2014 (UTC)

Comments and Commitments[edit]

These are all good ideas for improving the article. Please indicate which parts each group member will be working on. I see Jess has suggested getting together for this. Use this section or the To-Do list to indicate how you have split up tasks. J.R. Council (talk) 21:30, 22 October 2014 (UTC)

Something you should definitely do is go back through the history of the article. See the version of 7 May 2014 for the article by a student from this class last spring which was "reverted" by "Omnipeddista" as documented in the following line from the history: (cur | prev) 00:16, 24 June 2014‎ Omnipaedista (talk | contribs)‎ . . (4,248 bytes) (-17,640)‎ . . (rv Cassio.vieiraneto per WP:COATRACK, WP:SYNTH and WP:NOR) (undo | thank). Click the links for COATRACK, SYNTH, and NOR to see the reasons this editor reverted it. I don't particularly agree with this, but it may help you avoid some mistakes. J.R. Council (talk) 21:41, 22 October 2014 (UTC)


Principles of Psychology

  • background
  • where it started
  • small background on the founder
  • small touch on the 4 principles
  • intro into the 4 principles

William James

  • background growing up
  • background in psychology
  • how he got started in psychology
  • how he came to write principles of psychology

Rude23 (talk) 17:36, 6 November 2014 (UTC)

Feedback for Assignment 9[edit]

General comments: You’ve got a lot of really good ideas for this article on the talk page. It’s time to start putting them into the main article.

  • “More detailed outline” on the Talk page looks good for basic organization.
    • Note that there is already a good and detailed Wikipedia article on William James – just link to that rather than talking about James himself in this article.

Be sure to look at this line in History: 19:16, June 23, 2014‎ Omnipaedista (talk | contribs)‎ . . (4,248 bytes) (-17,640)‎ . . (rv Cassio.vieiraneto per WP:COATRACK, WP:SYNTH and WP:NOR) Click on the links starting WP: These are the reasons a editor reverted a revision by this class last spring. Don’t commit these sins as you develop the article.

  • I generally agree with the banner at the top which states: This article may need to be rewritten entirely to comply with Wikipedia's quality standards. You can help. The discussion page may contain suggestions.

Comments on specific sections of the main article follow:

1. Lead-in

  • this section is very sketchy and unsatisfactory. There should be a brief description of why Principles was important, as well as an overview of the topics it covers and how they are organized.

2. Nineteenth century experimental results

  • needs a better title, and very poorly organized. Some of this could be moved to the lead-in section (see above)

3. Consequences of comparisons

  • another bad section title. Better title, Comparative psychology, but that is only a small part of the book.

4. Publication data

  • better title – Publication history. Give accurate reference information for first edition, then may list some notable re-issues, such as the HUP with forward by George Miller that is listed.

5. Add a final section on Legacy or Lasting Influences J.R. Council (talk) 22:30, 13 November 2014 (UTC)

SafeAssign: Plagiarism Reports[edit]

I submitted my report on the afternoon of Monday, December 1st. The only match it seemed to find was with Wikipedia (of course!), so it looks like there's nothing to fix. Briekm (talk) 08:03, 2 December 2014 (UTC)